The Stiles + Drewe Prize

The Stiles + Drewe Prize is an unprecedented programme for the development and showcasing of British musical theatre writers.

About:
In 1985, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe were the recipients of the inaugural Vivian Ellis Prize for their musical Just So. Winning the prize introduced them to many leading lights of the musical theatre world, whose advice and support in championing new writing became so important to them. Since 2008, Stiles and Drewe have recognised new musical theatre writing via their annual ‘Best New Song’ which has been produced by MMD. From 2016, the broadening of the Stiles + Drewe Prize to include the bi-annual ‘MTI Mentorship Award’, will offer the musical theatre writing community greater financial and in-kind support via its two distinct arms:

MTI Mentorship Award – a biennial award given to an MMD writer or writing team for a first full draft of a new musical, centred around a one-week writing retreat and culminating in an industry showcase presentation the following year. The Award is generously supported by Music Theatre International (Europe).

Best New Song – recognising an outstanding song from a new musical written by a member of MMD, offered in conjunction with the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award.

N.B. There will be no Mentorship Award submission in 2019. The next Mentorship Award will be in 2020, with submissions open in November 2019. Best New Song 2019 Submissions will open early in 2019, please see below for full details.

1. The MTI Mentorship Award

N.B. There will be no Mentorship Award submission in 2019. The next Mentorship Award will be in 2020, with submissions open in November 2019. Best New Song 2019 Submissions will open early in 2019, please see below for full details.

Stiles+Drewe_prize_Mentor_logoStiles and Drewe, along with a panel of judges, give the MTI Mentorship Award on a biennial basis. Funding is generously provided by Musical Theatre International (Europe), one of  the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies. The next Mentorship Award will be in 2020.

The winning writer or writing team benefits from bespoke mentorship and support over a 12-month period.

This includes:

  • A fully funded, one-week development retreat to work on the winning musical. This will be at Anthony Drewe’s house in France.
  • Access to MMD’s monthly Advanced Writers’ Lab.
  • Participation in two Progress Labs. In each of these, the Mentorship Award winner will present a section of their musical in front of MMD members and receive feedback from a panel of industry professionals.
  • Access to work shadowing opportunities – either on a Stiles and Drewe show or with alternative industry contacts (subject to availability and production schedules).
  • After 12 months, the above culminates in rehearsal provision for a workshop with an industry showcase presentation at the end. This is with a professional cast, Director and MD.

How to Submit:

Writers can enter both the ‘MTI Mentorship Award’ and the ‘Best New Song’ via one submission process in alternate years. Whilst there is no entry fee, writers must be members of MMD.

You can find out more about MMD and join our organisation by clicking here

If you have any questions about MMD membership please email Rosie Archer, Membership Manager at rosie@mercurymusicals.com

Entry Requirements for The MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award:

 We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

  • Entrants must be resident in the UK (i.e. if chosen, you need to be able to attend monthly Advanced Writers’ Lab sessions, attend the one-week writers’ retreat in France with Stiles and Drewe, prepare and participate in two Progress Labs and the final industry showcase during the course of the year-long mentorship).
  • Entrants must have written a full first draft of the musical to be entered. Full draft means a complete script, with all songs written.
  • Your musical cannot have had a professional production.

Entrants should complete the online form below. Please note as mentioned above, there is no Mentorship Award submission in 2019. The next Mentorship Award will be in 2020.

*Please note that applicants for the MTI Mentorship Award must be from UK residents however Overseas Members of MMD may still submit for the Best New Song. 

General notes:

  • Entries must be uploaded via the MMD website.
  • Please label each page of the single pdf uploaded with your SHOW TITLE_ followed by key words/information as applicable):
  • “Song title”_scene (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_People Will Say We’re In Love_ Scene)
  • “Song title”_lyric sheet (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No_ Lyric Sheet)
  • Synopsis (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_Synopsis)
  • Underlying Rights Letter (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_Underlying Rights Letter)

Please submit:

Initially, we require the following to be uploaded via the online form as one document in PDF format:

  1. A synopsis no longer than 500 words
  2. A full character list
  3. A full track list
  • From the draft of the musical, entrants must submit three songs. Two should be submitted in the context of their scenes. A lyric sheet only should be uploaded for the third song. The maximum page limit for all of this material is 20 pages. The synopsis, character list, track list, two selected scenes/songs and lyric sheet for the third song should be in PDF format.
  • Soundcloud links must be included in the relevant section of the online form for all three songs. Please ensure you also detail the full song title next to the link. Please ensure the privacy settings on the Soundcloud tracks will allow MMD staff and the judges to open/listen to the links.
  • PDF sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement) must also be uploaded for all three songs. If songs are scored for instruments other than piano (e.g. guitar charts) you may submit these in the first instance, along with a clear, quality demo which gives a faithful impression of the song for the judges, but please be aware if shortlisted you will be required to provide piano/vocal arrangements on request and the judges may ask writers to produce further material (e.g. additional demos/vocal scores) from their musical, including a full draft in pdf format at any time.
  • Entrants should highlight on the online form which of the three songs they want to be considered for ‘Best New Song’. These must be solo songs, not duet or ensemble numbers. The entrant can submit up to two songs for consideration for the Best New Song. One song must be one of the three submitted for the Mentorship Award, the second song may either be one of the other two submitted from the same show or from another project. Once you have completed your Mentorship Award application you will be prompted to complete a separate Best New Song application which will require some duplication of information.
  • The Best New Song entry must be suitable for performance by one male or female singer with piano accompaniment only. Writers must be willing to adjust song lyrics to comply with this. Duets and ensemble numbers are not eligible for the Best New Song.
  • All material on the pdf should be presented anonymously. Only the online form and Soundcloud links should carry personal information.
  • If the musical contains any copyrighted material, please upload proof that the underlying rights have been secured. If the musical is wholly original or based on material now in the public domain please upload a signed letter stating this.

Please note, if you do not upload your files or label them accordingly we will be unable to download your application.

  • The judges may ask writers to produce a full draft of their musical in PDF format at any time.
  • You may only enter the same musical for consideration for the Mentorship Award twice. This can be done on consecutive years. The judges will not consider a musical a third time.
  • Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD are able to give individual feedback regarding the final selection.

Please make sure you read all the above entry requirements and instructions carefully before submitting your application.

2. The Best New Song

Stiles+Drewe_prize_Song_logo

The ‘Best New Song’ is awarded on an annual basis. 12 finalists have their songs performed by students participating in the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year. For the last 11 years this has been at a gala event held in a West End Theatre.

A panel of judges, including Stiles and Drewe, award the ‘Best New Song’ and the winner receives a prize of £1000 to put towards developing their work.

All 12 finalists have access to a Feedback Lab, hosted by Stiles and Drewe at a later date. They are also invited to be audience members in the two Progress Labs for the Mentorship Award-winner.

Entry Requirements for the Best New Song:

Entrants should complete the online form below.

We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

  • Entrants may submit a maximum of two songs for consideration for the Best New Song but may submit one song only if they wish.
  • If submitting two songs for the Best New Song only (open to all MMD members, including Overseas Members) entrants may submit songs from different projects and either written solely by themselves, two songs with the same collaborator or two songs with different collaborators.
  • If also applying for the Mentorship Award (UK applicants only in Mentorship Award years) one song must be one of the three submitted for the Mentorship Award. The second song may either be from the same show or from another project.
  • The song/s must be from a musical, although the musical does not need to be complete (unless part of a Mentorship Award application). Stand-alone cabaret songs will not be accepted.
  • The Best New Song entries must be suitable for performance by a solo singer, either male or female with piano accompaniment only. Duets or ensembles are not eligible.
  • We will only be able to advise Best New Song finalists whether their song will be performed by a male or a female singer once the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year selection process is complete. We cannot guarantee Best New Song finalists will be sung by a performer of the gender originally intended (i.e. you will have to be prepared for a male to sing a song originally written for a female and vice versa). Writers must be willing to adjust song lyrics accordingly.
  • The song cannot have been included in a previous professional production.
  • If you are part of a song writing team, at least one of you must be a paid up member of MMD.

Please submit:

  • A Soundcloud URL link to each song(s) pasted in the relevant section of the online form. Please ensure you also detail the full song title(s) next to the link and ensure the privacy settings on the Soundcloud tracks will allow MMD staff and the judges to open/listen to the links.
  • Lyric sheet for the song(s) (pdf format).
  • A show synopsis no longer than 500 words (pdf format).

General Notes:

  • If a song is selected as a Best New Song finalist, the writer(s) will be required to provide a PDF sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement) on request.
  • Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD are able to give individual feedback regarding the final selection.
  • Please label each file uploaded SHOW TITLE_ followed by key words/information as applicable):
  • “Song title”_lyric sheet (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_People Will Say We’re In Love_ Lyric Sheet)
  • Synopsis (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_Synopsis)

Please note, if you do not upload your files or label them accordingly we will be unable to download your application. Please read the above instructions carefully before you submit any materials.

Best New Song 2019 Application Form

History:
The Chair of the judging panel is writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson and previous judges have included Julia McKenzie, Philip Quast, Kim Criswell, George Stiles, Gareth Valentine, David Babani, Richard Balcombe, Kim Criswell, Martin Koch, David Grindrod, Maureen Lipman, Kerry Ellis, Anna Francolini, Timothy Sheader, Sarah Travis, Danielle Hope, Michael McCabe, David Shrubsole, Laurie Sansom, Michael Grandage, Imelda Staunton, Mike Haslam, Matthew Scott, Bert Fink, Jonathan Butterell, David Lan, Nigel Lilley, Scot Alan, Andrew Lippa, John Wilson, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Jamie Lloyd, Don Black, Paul Hart, Elaine Paige, Janie Dee, Simon Lee, Rachel Kavanaugh, and Alex Young.

Previous hosts have included Maria Friedman, Sally Ann Triplett, Rosemary Ashe, Hannah Waddingham, Haydn Gwynne, Claire Moore, Jenna Russell, David Bedella, Michael Xavier, Julian Ovenden and Clive Rowe.

Previous winners:

MTI Stiles & Drewe Mentorship Award:

2018: Jim Barne & Kit Buchan for their musical The Season

2017: Ben Glasstone for his musical Reanimator: A Zombie Musical

2016: Darren Clark & Rhys Jennings for their musical The Wicker Husband

Best New Song:

2018: Adam Wachter for “You and Me” from Any Minute Now.

2017: Claire Rivers and Tom Lees for “Gerry And Me” from P.S. I Love You.

2016: Tim Connor for “Back To School” from Heart of Winter. Tim’s show The Stationmaster, written with MMD member Sue Pearse, was premiered at From Page To Stage at Tristan Bates Theatre in 2015.

2015: Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay for “Don’t Look Down” from The Superhero.  Since winning the Best New Song Prize, Richy’s first professional Commission Mr Poppin’s Penguins has been out on UK Tour, produced by Olivier Award-winning producer Kenny Wax.

2014: Uniquely, Tamar Broadbent has two songs in the final in 2014 “Library Boy” and “The Procrastination Song”. The panel therefore decided to recognize Tamar’s overall work. Tamar has recently taken her one-woman show All By My Selfie to the Adelaide Fringe and her musical Pierced, which includes her 2013 runner-up song “17 Drafts” was performed at the New Musical Project.

2013: “That Once-in-a-Lifetime Feeling” by Tim Sutton. Since winning the Best New Song Prize, Tim has been nominated for the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in Music for his role as MD on Memphis The Musical.  He has also worked at The National Theatre as an MD on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and as composer and MD on The Amen Corner.

2012: Shared between “Powercut” by Douglas Hodge and “Do You Want A Baby, Baby” by Dougal Irvine from The Busker’s Opera.

2011: Jointly awarded to Tim Sutton for “I Am”, and Eric Angus and Paul James for “Kaboom! Kapow!” from The Boy Who Fell Into A Book which was produced at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough in 2014, directed by Sir Alan Ayckbourn.

2010: Gwyneth Herbert has enjoyed a full production of her musical The A to Z of Mrs P at Southwark Playhouse featuring her winning song “Lovely London Town”. She is currently working on a new project with her writing partner on that show, Diane Samuels.

2009: Olly Ashmore for “Wake Up TV” from Hot Flush 2.

2008: Mark Allcorn for “My Turn Soon” from Singles.

Stiles + Drewe Prize 2019 Timeline:

Applications for Best New Song 2019: (there is no Mentorship Award in 2019) open: Jan/Feb 2019

Finalists for Best New Song Prize announced: April 2019

Best New Song Prize 2019 winner/s announced: SSSSPOTY & Stiles + Drewe Prize 2019 Gala Final – June 2019, venue to be announced.

If you have any questions about the submission process please email Martin Jackson at martin@mercurymusicals.com or call on 020 7395 5461